Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel

Lecturer in Animal Behaviour

College of Science and Engineering

place Physical Sciences Building (2303B)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

PhD Biological Sciences (Flinders University)

D.E.A (equivalent Master) in Animal Behaviour (University of Paris XIII)

Maitrise (equivalent Honours) in Biology of Populations and Ecosystems (University of Paris XI)

Honours, awards and grants

Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Early Career Researchers 2014
- Flinders University, Adelaide
Best Student Paper Award 2011 - 3rd Symposium on Acoustic Communication by Animals, Ithaca, U.S.A.
People's Choice Award 2008 - Postgraduate Research Conference Flinders University, Australia

ARC Discovery 2019-2022
Adelaide & MLR NRM Board 2013-2019
Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife 2016
Lirabenda Endowment Fund Research Grants 2012
National Geographic Society/ Waitt Grants Program 2011
Australian Geographic Sponsorship 2011
Sir Mark Mitchell Foundation Grant 2007- 2008, 2010, 2016
Education Grant Australian Acoustical Society 2010
Holsworth Wildlife Research Grant 2007, 2008
Elaine Martin Travel Grant 2008
Nature Foundation SA Grant 2006
BSSA Student Field Research Grant 2006
Flinders University Student Travel Grant 2005

Research interests

Animal Behaviour: Birds are a model system to understand human language, because we share with birds similar brain patterns and the ability to learn acoustic signals via imitative learning. This research investigates a critical, yet poorly researched stage in language and song acquisition, embryonic learning, and tests for the conditions that limit embryonic learning and vocal production. It provides the first evidence for specialised sensorimotor learning in non-human embryos, which opens new windows of opportunity to comprehend the development of imitative vocal learning (including human speech) during embryonic stages.

Biodiversity and Conservation: This research explores the mechanisms underlying bird population declines and the processes limiting species distribution, with a focus on little penguins. This project uses a multidisciplinary approach mixing behavioural responses to environmental changes, population genetics and ecological modelling. My research was the first one to found evidence of blood parasite infections in SA little penguins. Very little is known about the impact of such parasites on penguins and even less on how they impact population trends.

Topic coordinator
BIOL1711 Introduction to Animal Behaviour
BIOL2721 Foundations of Animal Behaviour
Topic lecturer
BIOL1711 Introduction to Animal Behaviour
BIOL2721 Foundations of Animal Behaviour
BIOL3721 Research in Animal Behaviour
Supervisory interests
Animal behaviour
Higher degree by research supervision
Associate supervisor: Behavioural Ecology (2)
Expert for media contact
Animal Behaviour
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Birds
  • Conservation

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